By Ariel Hyatt
As we take a new trip around the sun, many independent (read poor) musicians are silently wondering if they'll survive another year. The music business isn't getting any easier and it doesn't seem as if opportunities abound for the independent musician. The "Do-It-Yourself" ethic used to be worn as a badge of pride and dedication among musicians, but nowadays it is a necessary piece of flair expressing utter desperation. Music Success in Nine Weeks is a book by Ariel Hyatt that aims to give the independent musician some insight into the workings of traditional public relations, but more importantly to help them understand "Cyber PR" and new and necessary means of promotion.
Hyatt, the founder and brain behind Ariel Publicity, shares her custom nine week guided regimen with emphasis on creating a pitch for you or your band (your business), overhauling your website, understanding social media and its relevance to the music industry, blogging, connecting with fans and networking. As Hyatt has been working in the industry (and quite successfully) she takes the noble step of "teaching a man to fish" so you can survive without actually having to hire a publicist.
What Hyatt makes apparent is how bleak and scorched the landscape is for independent musicians. It is truly daunting when it becomes clear how much time (outside of writing, playing, rehearsing, postering or gigging) the musician must spend just for the possibility to earn enough money to, say, buy this book. For some it may be too much when they realize they must get up from the piano, put down the pen, plug in the IV and sit in front of a computer and try to promote music they don't have time to play anymore.
Now to be fair (and again dabble in metaphor), Hyatt is simply the messenger reporting on the state of affairs in the music industry. She is not responsible for the bleak landscape; in fact, she is trying to lead the musician to water (and someday food). Her advice is sound and she is here to help. She correctly notes that, "All the current news surrounding the music business is bad news," and that success in music today means creating and maintaining a two-way conversation with fans. If nothing else, if the musician puts this book down and realizes that music is a discussion not a soliloquy, then Ariel Hyatt has done a tremendous service. Sadly, what seems more realistic is that the smart musician will finish this book, pawn his guitar, and hope he's got enough money for a decent suit.
Editor's note: Andy Powell plays bass and handles publicity for the band Strix Vega.